The Nigerian Army has noted that if the illegality of oil refining activities continues, it will gravely affect the stability of the nation’s economy.
This was observed on Wednesday during a joint operational visit of the General Officers Commanding (GOCs), 6 and 82 Divisions, Nigerian Army (NA), Major Generals Jamal Abdussalam and Hassan Dada, to the illegal oil bunkering sites located at Okoloma, Oyigbo Local Government Area and Umuahale area in Ukwa West LGA of Rivers and Abia States respectively.
The GOCs who disclosed that the visit was part of efforts to end the illegal oil bunkering regime in the Niger Delta and South East regions, said if the illegality is allowed to continue, it will badly affects the economy.
In the statement made available to Journalists in Port Harcourt, by Lieutenant Colonial Danjuma J. Danjuma, Acting Deputy Director, 6 Division Army Public Relations, said the locations are at the fringes of the Imo River, where the two Divisions are jointly conducting clearance operations from Rivers and Abia.
According to Danjuma, “The visit which was essentially to have an on the spot assessment of the illegality perpetrated by criminals and economic saboteurs as well as boost troops morale for a job well-done, was a follow up to the earlier raid on one of the camps last week by troops of 6 Division.”
He disclosed that during the operation, the military team found a hub of illegal oil bunkering with cooking pots, boilers, huge quantity of illegal products, others.
He explained “While at the fringes of the Imo River, deep into the thickly forested areas, the GOCs were conducted through a tour by the Commander, 6 Division Garrison, Brigadier General Edet Effiong and Commander 14 Brigade, Brigadier General Olusola Diya, where they saw the hub of illegal oil bunkering, shrouded with cooking pots, boilers, surface reservoirs and huge quantities of illegal products in dug-in reservoirs carefully concealed, under the thick forest with interconnected pipes spanning several kilometers”.
He said “The crime scene points to the fact that it is an organised crime that has been running for a long period, owing to the huge investment made to sabotage the national economy”.
The GOCs who jointly addressed the troops at the area, charged them to ensure all illegal bunkering sites are destroyed.
They also reiterated President Bola Tinubu’s directive on zero tolerance for illegal oil bunkering, charging the troops to sustain the operational tempo against the mindless criminality.
“Additionally, it is believed that the proceeds from these illegalities are used to fund other crimes. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to deny the enemies of the state freedom of action and ensure that these streams of funding are completely dismantled”, the GOCs advised.
Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt